Monday, July 11, 2016

Twelve O'Clock High School

High school team names pose a few challenges.  For one thing we seem to be living in a "Participation Ribbon" age and the very concept of cheering on your Falcons (or Panthers, Cardinals, etc) to victory over some other bunch seems just a little mean.

And lets be honest there are some team names that are unfortunate.

Of late there has been quite a push to get rid of team names like Indians.  Also probably Warriors.  Redskins may seem a lot worse but hey, that's different 'cause D.C..

Not that there is anything inherently offensive in the name itself.  Most of us enlightened 21st century types recognize a great deal of merit and nobility in Native culture.  But tempers and spirits in young people being what they are you can see why pep rally references to scalping and so forth are inevitable, so maybe Indians should be gradually phased out as a High School team name.

But, if you want to pick a name that is even more cringe inducing, how about this:

I mean it is really hard to see the nobility in bombing people even in time of war.

Welcome to Kohler Wisconsin, home of the Blue Bombers.

Actually my first clue was not the equipment trailer shown above.  No, it was this:

When we saw this we were really, really hoping this was not something that the mascot drove around the field at football games.  It wasn't.  But what then is it?

Something with tail guns....

Here is the big clue:

No kiddin', this is a huge barbecue grill fashioned to look like a B17 bomber.  There are grills in each wing with the fuselage holding space for coolers full of brats.

I should explain to the non Wisconsinites that bratwurst is very important in our state, and that Sheboygan is the unofficial Brat Capitol. This portable grill would presumably be used by the booster club to cook up tasty sausages at games and other functions.  A bit of research showed that it was student built, part of Project Grill.  This is a design and engineering program in which all manner of interesting barbecue grills get built.  The link contains photos of some really fabulous ones.  As I said, brats are very important in Wisconsin.

So to get back to my original point, how did a high school team get named The Blue Bombers?

Kohler actually started out as a company town, built adjacent to the factories of The Kohler Company.  Employees of same still make up much of the population.  Kohler is one of the world's premier manufacturers of plumbing fixtures.  Sinks, toilets that sort of thing.  During both world wars the fact that Kohler had existing foundries for brass and iron naturally led to government contracts making, well, a small out of the way exhibit in the company museum gives you a clue.

I can't confirm that they made parts for the B17 but they did some work on the B29.  And they made lots and lots of things that were dropped out of aircraft or fired out of cannons.

Kohler is a very nice town.  The Kohler Company is a great place to work and makes fine products.  The "Bomber" grill is a swell student project and was done in collaboration with local veterans.  But in a new era when bombs are going off all too often around the world maybe I will be so bold as to suggest that the school consider a name change.

The Foundrymen sounds nice.  Or given the modern tendency to pick names like Avalanche or Crimson Tide perhaps Kohler could ponder the products of their name sake company and dub themselves The Swirling Vortex!

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